LAYTON -- Students and teachers need to cancel any plans they have made for Feb. 7 and 8.
With Utah state lawmakers allocating approximately $5.8 million to Davis School District following a special legislative session Wednesday, Davis district officials announced Thursday that previously planned furloughs for those two days will no longer take place.
"People will be able to work for two more days, and children will be educated for two more days," said Susan Firmage, Davis Education Association president.
Congress passed an Education Jobs Fund bill in August in an effort to retain existing employees, recall or rehire former employees and hire new employees.
Soon after, Davis School District administrators -- under the direction of the Davis School Board, representatives from Davis Education Association and Davis Education Support Professional Association -- discussed the potential use of the money.
The school district and the associations agreed that $3 million will be used to restore two furlough days.
While it may be just two days of pay, the news was received well by school district employees.
"They're professionals, and they want to do a good job, especially when the Legislature is now talking about grading schools," said Chris Williams, community relations director for Davis School District.
"Well, is it fair to grade schools when these cuts have had to be made? An additional two days does definitely help us, but there is a lot more that could be done."
As for the opinion of the students, Williams said it depends on the student.
"I know students who love school, and when there is time off, especially when there is extended vacations, they miss school," he said.
Had the furloughs taken place, everyone employed by the school district would not have worked those two days. The decision not to have 180 school days, as the Utah State Board of Education asks for, was made when planning this year's calendar.
"Because there had been a lack of money last spring, the state Board of Education had made it possible for schools to reduce school days to be able to make their budgets," Firmage said.
She said they knew money was coming, so they scheduled the furlough days later in the school year. That way, it would be easier to reinstall the days when the money became available.
"Trimming a calendar isn't something that we wanted to do in the first case, but we had a $31 million budget cut that we had to make, and unfortunately, one of the ways we decided to cut the budget was to trim two days off the calendar," Williams said.
"Doing that saved us $3 million, and so we're glad we've got the money, and we still have a decision to make on how we will spend the rest of the money."
Discussions will continue regarding how to best spend that remaining stimulus money. Priorities include recognizing the needs of students by addressing class size and other related issues.
One possibility is hiring more teachers.
"There will be further discussion," Firmage said.
"We have very high (class size), and we would like to take care of some of those bulges."